Curse of Brandon Lupinus
Curse of Brandon Lupinus is a Quickie from Ellora’s Cave. I had hopes of a fun, little ghost story; unfortunately, it mainly revolves around sex, the plot is so thin it’s hardly there, and the sex-obsessed main characters had me rolling my eyes.
Jess Whittlebury falls in love with Tavistock Manor at first sight and hopes to turn it into a Bed & Breakfast. This despite the fact that it is in dire need of refurbishing and there are rumors of its haunting. Cursed by an old witch more than two hundred years ago, werewolf ghost Brandon Lupinus is bound to his family’s home, damned to a lonely existence until he finds a way to break the curse. Curiosity and boredom prompt him to check out the Manor’s new inhabitant, but his feelings quickly turn to excited hope when he notices the return of his senses. He can’t resist touching her warm, willing body – will she be the catalyst to break his curse?
Within a few pages into Curse of Brandon Lupinus, I was ready to resign myself to a mediocre read that dishes up some of my biggest pet peeves. Technically, the sensuality level is “burning,” with the first sex scene starting on page eight and the sum of them occupying nearly half of the story’s 53 pages. However, instant, multiple sex acts between protagonists whom I have yet to get to know – and who don’t know each other – just lacks appeal, let alone emotional and sexual tension.
But what’s even worse, these sex scenes creeped me out. Brandon, a total stranger, sneaks up on a sleeping, aka helpless, Jess and takes sexual liberties with her. Jess might be enjoying Brandon’s attentions, thinking she is having an erotic dream, but it’s disturbing and makes me think of date rape, especially when waking up the next day, Jess puzzles over her physical condition, for “between her legs she was tender, as if she truly had been vigorously loved.”
The sum total of plot and characterization is this: Brandon is the Manor’s horny ghost and Jess the Manor’s horny new owner. Once in a while (when not having sex), Brandon takes pleasure in howling at the moon, while Jess refurbishes the Manor’s rooms and ogles the fit of Brandon’s breeches. The idea of a cursed werewolf ghost sounds intriguing, but Brandon’s wolf reminded me of nothing other than a barking dog. The conflict and its solution are predictable, and it is never explained why Jess is The One. There was a little twist on the last couple of pages that caught me by surprise, but it just wasn’t enough to save the story.
Considering the limited page count (about 15,000 words) and the obligatory focus on sex, I guess shouldn’t have been surprised that all other facets of the Quickie were brutally cut short. Nevertheless I can’t help feeling scammed – and wondering if all Quickies are as tacky as this one.